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Common Reasons for the Failure of an I D Card

Sep 8, 2008
These days, we take ID cards for granted. Even though a significant proportion of the population does not like the idea of "big brother" watching, and they like their anonimity, the very same people will have a pocket full of credit cards and store loyalty cards. It is simply the fact that these identification cards have become such common place items that they are generally ignored.

But what can happen when an identification card goes wrong? One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to you in a store is that your payment method is not accepted. You pass over your credit card only to be told that it won't work. Now what do you do?

Other daily situations which can be made difficult by the failure of an ID card can be access to restricted areas, such as work areas. If your access card will not work, you are stuck waiting for someone to come and let you in... left in the cold!

What can happen to make an identification card go wrong? It is important to remember that a card is simply that - a piece of plastic with some form of magnetic, optical or radio frequency code built in with your identification number on it.

The most common cause of failure in an identification card is simply that it becomes broken or too scratched to be useable. This is very common with credit cards, which are continually swiped through reader machines, eventually damaging the magnetic strips on the cards. Another common way to break a card is to sit down with the card in your back pocket - a bent card may never work again, and a snapped one should not be acceptable by a store, even if you were able to tape it back together again!

Other common forms of failure of magnetic access cards or magnetic credit cards is that the magnetic tape is damaged through proximity with strong magnets or even degaussing units. It is even said that storing two magnetic cards next to each other for long periods of time can cause the magnetic "signal" to be degraded - yet we all keep a bundle of cards together with each other in our purses and wallets.

Theft or loss is another common way that an identification card can become unusable, at least by you. If you don't have the card on you for whatever reason, then you can't use it. It is simple to lose an access card that you use regularly because items that are constantly in use become something which you don't think about any more - you just use them. But the sickening feeling when you reach to your bag and find that your cards are no longer there confirms their importance in our lives!

It is important to react quickly when you discover that an identification card has been stolen or lost - simply by cancelling the card with the issuing authority can greatly reduce the risk of the card being used fraudulently.

Modern cards now include what is called "chip and pin". This involves the card being inserted into a card reader, typically by the user. Then a four digit pin number is entered on a key pad, and this pin is checked to ensure that it corresponds to the card. The chip and pin technique can greatly reduce opportunist theft of ID cards, but it is still open to abuse if a thief can get to see your pin number somehow, and then later can steal your card.

Life is difficult without ID cards - you should treat them with more care than money, and always make sure that you look after them!
About the Author
Mr Bradfield is an author and publisher who represents 'The Cardnetwork' (http://www.thecardnetwork.co.uk), the most popular supplier of ID Cards,
ID card printers and supplies in Great Britain.
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